Monty Woolley (August 17, 1888 – May 6, 1963) was an American stage, film, radio, and television actor. At the age of 50, he achieved a measure of stardom for his best-known role in the stage play and 1942 film The Man Who Came to Dinner. His distinctive white beard was "his trademark."
Woolley was born Edgar Montillion Woolley in New York City to a wealthy family (his father owned the Bristol Hotel) and grew up in the highest social circles. Woolley received a Bachelor's degree at Yale University, where Cole Porter was an intimate friend and classmate, and Master's degrees from Yale and Harvard University. He eventually became an assistant professor of English and dramatic coach at Yale. Thornton Wilder and Stephen Vincent Benét were among his students. He served in World War I in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant assigned to the general staff in Paris.
Woolley began directing on Broadway in 1929, and began acting there in 1936 after leaving his academic career. In 1939 he starred in the Kaufman and Hart comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner for 783 performances. It was for this well-reviewed role he was typecast as the wasp-tongued, supercilious sophisticate.